Rental Car Insurance Basics

Getting proper auto insurance for a rental car is a process full of uncertainty and more than a little confusion. Should I get insurance from the rental company? Am I covered if I use my credit card to rent the car? Does my auto insurance policy cover rented vehicles? All of these are questions that come to mind when thinking about obtaining auto insurance for a rental car.

The first step you should take before renting a car is to check on your existing auto insurance coverage and with your credit card companies to find out what type of rental auto insurance you already have in place. This can be done before you ever rent a car so you enter the process with some background knowledge.

If you are renting a car for pleasure and not business, most likely the coverage and deductibles you have with auto insurance on your car will apply to the rental. If you have comprehensive auto insurance your rental car will have the highest level of coverage, but if you have dropped comprehensive or collision auto insurance on your car remember the rental won’t be covered in case of theft or an accident. Also check with your auto insurance provider for any riders it might offer that might be less expensive than buying auto insurance through the rental company.

Rental car insurance offered by your credit card is going to vary widely depending on the type of card, the issuer and even the bank that provides your credit card. Typically any coverage provided by your credit card will involve damage or loss to the rental, but will exclude your personal belongings, personal liability, other cars and other’s property. You should check with each credit card you carry to find out which one offers the most secondary coverage for rental car insurance.

Once you rent a car and you know where you are covered through your personal auto insurance and credit cards, you will have the option to add coverage through the car rental service. These options include: loss damage waiver, liability insurance, personal accident insurance, and personal effects insurance.

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